Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Revolution 5: All Beatles, All Night Long


"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." ~Lennon/McCartney

Last night we saw The Revolution 5 at the Teattro Zuccone in Duluth, MN. The Beatles tribute group shared a rich evening of Beatles with us in a show titled The Long and Winding Road: From Ed Sullivan to Apple.

There have probably been a number of groups who have enjoyed “becoming the Beatles” for a time and entertaining crowds with their music. I doubt many would be charging admission if they weren’t good, and this group of Midwestern musicians turned out to be very good. And their show was more than entertaining, despite their appearance being completely different from the original mop-top artists from Liverpool.

It may be that they were aware of how different they looked, because they didn’t just put on a show imitating the Beatles. The set had a Beatles “look” with the relatively spare drum kit and guitars. At the back of the stage was a screen upon which the name of the band was projected, in The Beatles’ font and graphic look. And most significantly, the show opened with actual footage from when Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles in 1964.

Grant Haake, the lead singer, is (my guess) in the neighborhood of 6’ 5”, towering above bass player John Tetrault. These guys could hardly look more different from one another, unlike the original Fab Four who many people almost couldn’t tell apart. The rapidity at which Grant and company won over the crowd despite this lack of symmetry in appearance was impressive. Being introduced by Ed Sullivan helped. Taking on the mannerisms of the Beatles helped. Performing so many great songs with such energy and proficiency blew the lid of everyone’s hearts as they embraced the evening of Tribute to the Beatles.

The first half of the show consisted of every Beatles song that they performed live for Mr. Sullivan’s audiences, beginning with All My Loving, the opening number. Haake talked about many of the songs for us in a Brit accent and for the entire evening he never went out of character. He never stopped being a Beatle.

The opening number was followed by Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, I want to Hold Your Hand from the February 9, 1964 show. The following week in 1964 the Beatles performed two more hits, This Boy and From Me To You. And the next week, probably back by insanely popular demand, we received two more offerings: Twist And Shout and This Boy.

There was another fun part of the show last night. Between some of the songs they played a few of the TV commercials that aired in 1964 on the real show, and they were hilarious. These brief interludes no doubt gave the band a chance to catch their collective breath because Beatles music can be high energy and the group here held nothing back in their efforts to re-create their sound.

The next group of songs came from the September 12, 1965 performance on the Sullivan show, the day after my 13th birthday. Haake mentioned at one point during this set that for the period of that hour there had been no juvenile crime in America. This segment included I Feel Fine, I’m Down, Act Naturally, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday and Help.

After the intermission we moved into the Apple years when the Beatles had stopped touring and developed their increasingly complex sounds in the studio. What was impressive last night was how The Revolution 5 was able to capture so much of the nuanced and complex layers of sound that the original Beatles had invented. Perfectionists might quibble that they used a synthesizer to play the horn sound on Penny Lane, but the deft inventiveness with which they reproduced the studio effects, especially on songs like Strawberry Fields Forever and A Day In The Life, was impressive.

The play list is far too long to recall here in its entirety, but thoughtfully reflective songs as well as rockers. Back in the U.S.S.R., Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With a Little Help From My Friends, Two Of Us, The Long & Winding Road, Yellow Submarine, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Here Comes The Sun, Something, Blackbird, Ballad of John & Yoko, Taxman, and Revolution, among many others, made for a memorable experience. Every song received instant enthusiastic applause. Portions of the crowd were on their feet even before it was over, and at the end all of us were cheering for more. The encore followed, with dancing, clapping, smiling and laughing.

At the show’s end Grant Haake, Aaron Barthell, Louis Wineskowski, John Tetrault and drummer Charlie Phoenix were lined up at the exit to personally thank each of us for coming to their show. The Revolution 5 made it clear why the Beatles played such a significant role in the history and development of rock and roll.

If my review sounds a bit biased, it's because I was there. Here's a link to their website where you can learn more about the band, see their upcoming schedule and book tickets to see them yourself. I'm confident you'll enjoy the show.

2 comments:

DarkestBlaze said...

It was a very enjoyable night! I would certainly go to see them again.

ENNYMAN said...

And next time, urge more friends to join us.
Thanks for the note...
A lot of memories stirred.
e.